An Abundance of Thyme.


I have an abundance of thyme, unfortunately it grows right over Madeline. It is an ironic little fact that my brain has thought about over and over… where there is no more time, there is thyme.

You would think that I would associate the savory smell of thyme in a negative way, it reminds me of Madeline’s resting spot. It would make sense if the smell and taste of thyme made a meal unenjoyable.

The thing is the thyme I have I love. I love its smell and taste. I love how it covers the ground in a low soft carpet, in places that grass doesn’t grow easily. I have spent hours laying on her sunny spot, with the sun on me and the breeze blowing… laying right on that thyme. Breathing in thyme where there is no more time. It has been a long time since I have laid on that thyme and just soaked up the quiet and peace that the place with no time holds.

We wander the cemetery and read stones. We take notice of how old some headstones in the cemetery are, some stones are early 1800’s, some maybe earlier. The stories of those stones are profound… you can read history in that place with no time. There are family plots with 4 small marble headstones each with a lamb on top- the marble is too broken down to read. That family buried 4 children, I wonder how that mother went on, how she could survive that loss. In that place with no time there are 1000’s of spots for those with no more time here. History is tangible- you can see the fallout of the flu epidemics, WW1, WW2, Vietnam- the Civil War. Hardship and heroes, and everything in between all laying in the place with no time.

Prospect Hill Cemetery has an amazing and grand memorial on top of the hill- it was placed there to honor all of the soldiers that died in the Civil War from Guilderland. All though the cemetery you will see stones with flags, markings of military duty- some who died in battle, and others who were gifted the life they were fighting for. It is a very beautiful resting place, and every time I walk or drive around the cemetery I think of those families. I think of the moms who had to go on, the daughters who never got to say a proper goodbye to their first love… the stones tell the stories for the ones with no more time.

I wonder as I wander through how that family brought their lovely along, what stories did they share so the world KNEW their missing one? I wonder how they got through it all… I wonder if they loved the thyme when they visited or laid down in the peaceful, breezy place that holds our lovelies.

Today we popped up to Madeline’s Spot, we pulled some of the thyme near her friendship rocks and we dusted of her stone. I sat and smelled the thyme and thought about how I miss her. I thought about her time here and I enjoyed her thyme. We drove around the whole cemetery and thought about those resting ones… and the ones who miss them.

Every year I think about a family friend, a young mom who lost her beloved husband, who never got the ‘proper goodbye’… I think about her story and the way she honors and shares him today. We could not live as we do today if not for all of those who serve.

Those stones tell a story… a story of a place with an abundance of thyme but no time. Share your story, let’s collect stories of thyme and stones and history… of missing. Who do you visit, who do you honor?

A Birthday, a benefit and a baby shower

…because that’s just how life works. At anyone time all of it is happening- celebrating life, birth, graduations, anniversaries, marriages… right next to it someone is fighting for their life, their rights, their marriage or their families. Life is a full-blown mix of all of those things…

In a room of celebration, there is probably a layer of pain sitting right under that joy. While we celebrate the amazing and joyful, the experiences and losses are right there. I remember clearly that when Madeline died, a friend delivered a fresh and perfect baby boy within hours of God welcoming Madeline home. Life is like that- a full blown, hot mess mix of love and hurt and joy and broken and crap… so much that in one day you can go from planting veggie plants to a benefit for a young father fighting for his life to a baby shower to home to enjoy your own lovely daughter who turns 9 today… to a rescued bumble bee that now has a new home. Life.

I am sitting here, with a beautiful breeze and some sunlight hanging out in my yard, thinking about all of it. I get to celebrate my Lucy with her perfect freckles, hazel eyes and playful spirit- I feel grateful for every ounce of her. I wish I could be like Lucy sometimes, she is mellow and smart. She loves to play and leaves the games she loses with a shrug of her shoulders and a “I had fun mom”. She is easy and kind and wears her socks inside out and argues with me about how often to shower. She does the strangest things, and when asked why she did it she replies “I don’t know, I just wanted to see what would happen”. I love that about her… I sometimes just wonder what her brain is thinking when it impulsively sprays purple hairspray all over the toilet seat. I sit and see her play on her big a special day… and I wonder why she has had to go through what she has. I remind myself, that we don’t get to pick the crap, the hard. She is growing and becoming a pretty amazing person- even with her big pile of crap.

I am a little sad tonight… that my home is full of so few people. I wish my girls had a big table of siblings like I did. I wish they had a room full of cousins to enjoy days like today with. Instead it is just me and my girls- 2/3 of them anyway. I guess my job is to make this home a place they love and it’s okay that it’s small. I guess I should remember and welcome all the creatures they bring in, maybe those are our extras. Tonight, we dine with an injured bumble bee- and “mom if he passes we are going to study him with a microscope, because we want to know what he looks like but don’t want him to die.” I will make the Lucy Feast- Hotdogs, Mac and Cheese, corn on the cob and Pringles… all of her favorites. We will eat some cupcakes and I guess the plus is there are many left over cupcakes for tomorrow- which we wouldn’t have if there were lots of Musto’s here. I guess we should look to the positives and enjoy the bits.

Always look to the positives and enjoy the little bits, they matter. In life joy will ALWAYS ride next to the pain, loss will ALWAYS ride next to birth. It is the way. We need to honor that part, feel it all and love the celebrations and the light. Life will have the next hard thing soon, so enjoy the babies, birthdays, recitals, graduations, best days ever… so that when the hard stuff comes- the loss, the broken, the grief, the pain, the sickness… you can keep chuggin’, keep grabbing on to your Rock- for the next amazing thing is coming.

Cheers to the birthdays, benefits and babies. The grand mix. Thank you, Big Guy, my Rock, for being there when the waters were high and painting the most beautiful sunsets. Thank you for it all…


Working on my ‘self’…

Why is it that reading a ‘self help’ book makes being the best me sound so simplified? As I read the words I highlight and think ‘that makes sense’… ‘I know this’. Sometimes I can even hear myself helping others through challenges and saying just.those.things. The book is full of knowledge I already own, but I don’t use those skills well, apparently.

I have so many experiences and lessons to draw from, words from amazing therapists, faith and guidance from The Big Guy… what is holding my ‘self’ from doing life better? I mean I tell my ‘self’ today we will rock this gig- or if we fail ‘let’s just start tomorrow’… but me and my ‘self’ can’t get our shit together lately. It’s like one is always beating the other up, sabotaging the promise to eat better with baseball field fries or being too tired to do a workout…

I know that I am better and stronger and happier when I work out. I know that I feel better when my days have enough water and eat lots of veggies. I know that my brain is cleaner when I write regularly and read lots. I know that my soul is more whole when I make time for God and truth and love. I know all of this…

But here I am…

I am reading and reminding my ‘self’ that I am a badass… and that I need to get a handle on this amazing life God gifted me. I need to remind my brain and words to work on my ‘self’… and get my ‘self’ to a better, more confident, more badass, lovelier, more amazing job of being my ‘self’.

I find myself encouraging others all.the.time to self-talk. In the event of something very big or scary or emotional telling your ‘self’ that you have a job to do, you need to just do your job and try not to think of failing or worst-case scenario right then. Do your job. Go in there and do your job, you can reflect on it later. I know this works, I have done it so many times. I could never speak in public, it used to scare me. I would be so anxious and nervous that my stomach would be off and I would miss enjoying the moment. I would judge myself after and be angry that I couldn’t do it… then I realized that I could do it. I just told myself ‘do your job, you have no choice but to do this job’. It took away the cop outs and the much of the stress. ‘Doing my job’ has reaped a world of sharing and connecting people. That ‘job’ has allowed me to share what I have learned and experienced in grief, love, divorce and life in general.

It is so much harder to remind myself to do that, lately. It’s like I am out of the habit of self-care and support. I don’t think I meant to get to this messy place, but here I am. I am in the land of self-help books and reading the inspirational quotes in my cupboards. I am searching for the one’s that will make sense right now, the ones that will help build better pathways in my brain. Like I said before I know how to do this… it is just finding that self-balance I have been missing. So… self-help books it is, at least one about how I am a BADASS. Who doesn’t need to be reminded that they are a BADASS???

Life is hard. It is infinitely more difficult than I ever expected but is beautiful and joyful and gentle and terrible and funny and broken… it is all of that. I could never have foreseen my life being here, yet I wouldn’t have my life any other way. I wish I had three girls to raise and build- but I am forever lacking one. I am happily divorced but miss having more people at the dinner table. I live far away from my home, but I love the home I have made here. Nothing is how I imagined it to be… maybe I am a product of being in this spot right now- this messy place.

I restarted the book I started a while back- maybe now is the time to read it. Now is when I need the BADASS building and reminding… I am even highlighting and rereading. I am devoted to being a BADASS, that has a grasp on growing and building up this life. I was reading tonight and felt compelled to write and keep bringing you all along on this freakin’ messy journey, my BADASS journey.

Send pointers, advice, comments, reviews if you have read the book, etc. I love my Climbing Up The Polka Dot Clan…



Write always and anyway…

What if I am supposed to just write anyway, to write even when I don’t feel like it? What if just doing it is part of the process, part of the growth, part of the becoming? Lately I my brain seems jumbled, like when you finish laundry and that pile of socks is left… and if you live in my house there are most likely missing, mismatched and stranger’s socks. If you can imagine my jumbled-up brain might be more jumbled than most… given the state of the socks in this house.

I miss when my brain was clearer, my writing came easier, my words would just flow. I would have a silly thought, or important point and BOOM my fingers took to the keyboard and the story my brain needed to tell just appeared on the screen. It has been a bit since my thoughts flew to my fingers and formed the story that my mind thought. I quite miss it… but maybe this is part of it. Who knows, maybe these times of jumbled and messy, will be part of the becoming I need to keep doing.

Today at school I took my break and kind of hid away and looked at Facebook. When it was time to be back to work a behavior escalated, I said “I’ll get it, my breaks pretty much done and I was just looking at Facebook”. I made a comment about having nothing better to do than looking at Facebook on break anyway, my friend asked why I didn’t read. I said I hadn’t brought a book in a while, and I thought to myself I should do that. We were then walking down to the far away wing to support the kiddo who needed it, and she said ‘or you could write’… and I was reminded that I don’t have it right now. I am too… jumbled or messy or something. Writing didn’t just come to me right now…

I thought about it a lot as the day progressed, I am sure she didn’t mean for it to be something I would reflect on for the day. I am sure she meant to give me quick reminders of things I like to do to get into my less jumbled space. It got me thinking though…

I spend too much time just looking at things, watching time go by. I of all people should know that time is expensive and I spending too much of it watching and not doing. I tried to look inside the jumbled mess that lives inside my brain, I didn’t get too far. I definitely saw that sock pile, it is just itching to get put away and sorted… even with the missing, mismatched and stranger’s socks. What if… I am supposed to stop looking and watching or telling myself I don’t know what to write and just do it… just write until I sort this sock pile.

I need to just trust the brain to finger to screen connection, and just do it. Sometimes I may only have a trip to the grocery store to write about- but maybe the task is the write it and share it, in my own way, so I can sort it all. I feel like writing will help get that jumbled brain back to healthy and not-so-messy, let’s be honest it won’t be sparkly and full of folded, color sorted laundry in neat piles, I know myself pretty well.

What if the becoming is less about the product and more about the process… and the vulnerability of sharing my mess? What if to find that semblance of organized starts when I do what I know how to do, even when I feel like I can’t? Damn, this is deeper than I meant it to be. I hate when that happens…

So I guess this is me, telling you all, that I am going to write it out and you can go though this seemingly endless sock pile sorting life journey with me. Come along on this experience from just being me, to becoming me…


PS In case I haven’t told you all lately thank you for the words and support and silent hugs when I get really vulnerable that I feel naked. I am honored and grateful you are all climbing up this polka dot tree with me ❤